WIP [LaS] Light and Shadow - Art Discussion

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
So not to nitpick but I wouldn't quite call it phase 1, probably more like 2 or 3ish :D

How does the safe zone in the middle work? Suppresses combat? Blocks pathing so creatures can't go there?
I agree, this is a bit more ambitious than what we discussed, but I think it's a LOT less ambitious than what we ultimately (hopefully) end up with. :)

I'm hoping if we can establish something solid in terms of what a first, playable version SHOULD look like then we can back into our Test type phases and the milestones associated with them.

Hopefully most of what's outlined here is possible near-term given the technology we have on hand.



The safe zone I thought might be nice as a resting point. If we do have enemies that populate the maze, perhaps the AI "sees" the entrances to the middle point as impassible.

That's all assuming that it's possible to create a midpoint in the first place, populate a maze with enemies that are restricted to certain paths, etc.
 

Cervator

Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Contributor
Design
Logistics
SpecOps
I think one trick about involving a lot of custom defensive building at this point is that it would be incredibly easy for players to find some hacky way to break pathfinding and easily win that way. Players are resourceful, they'll find a way :)

I suspect it would be better to focus first on the AI to make the creatures a little harder to fool, before emphasizing "custom" player defense. That, and some degree of siege warfare, even if it is only giving some of the creatures hand-held block breaking weaponry.

I'd put custom defense maybe half-way through the overall development of the game mode, if not even later. A fair bit past first playable. Nothing bad in aiming for it, of course.

I think the free-form building element is something that we should never forget to emphasize, even early on, as it sets our game apart from others. It celebrates creativity and that sandbox element that other games lack.
This quote in particular I consider a little off. I'd say that is Minecraft's strength in a nutshell. We need free form building and creativity, sure, but aren't going to pull any novel punches focused that way, IMHO. We need to involve the creatures and their behavior more - which will take some pretty kickass AI.

(Ultimately it'll be smart creatures and free form building for defense that'll stand out, but it'll be a tricky combo)
 

glasz

Active Member
Contributor
Art
This quote in particular I consider a little off. I'd say that is Minecraft's strength in a nutshell. We need free form building and creativity, sure, but aren't going to pull any novel punches focused that way, IMHO
I have to disagree with that. This isn't just minecraft strength, it's any voxel 3d game strength. If it's not somehow at the center of the gaming experience, there's no real point in having those cubic landscapes. So i'd agree with SuperSnark that it deserves thinking about early on. There are other ways than the minecraft way. One thing is for example the time it takes to build or destroy a cube/voxel. By slowing the process down for example, we provide quite a different gaming experience and can tweak the game balance this way. If it takes long enough to dig a hole or build a wall, players will have a harder time fooling the AI, and will need to think a little more tactically about what landscape alterations they make.
 

Cervator

Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Contributor
Design
Logistics
SpecOps
Well don't get me wrong - yeah, we need that, and especially breaking things is fine. Cubic landscape lends itself to creative building, sure, it'll just be tricky specifically to get free style defenses working. Thinking and long-term planning is great, I'm just hesitant to attempt that part in a "first playable" milestone :)
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
I think the objective based nature (as opposed to a pure survival mode or sandbox), unique look and feel, and the slightly more purposeful quest-y nature in Phase 1 (craft a Crossbow for a specific purpose, kill the enemy King) will definitely set us apart from Minecraft even early on.

For Phase 1 I think we have to leverage what Terasology does well, and a large part of that (what we currently have to work with) is building and knocking down blocks.

The first thing we can present the players with is a problem that appears shortly after they enter the world - there's an attack coming on the king. But we leave it to them to figure out how to deal with it. I think this will be a strength.

As a player, my first reaction would simply be, OK, attack the Enemy- there's only a few, and my NPC guards are helping me. Once the first wave is done, I might start exploring or figuring out how to use that crafting toolbox nearby. Suddenly there's a second wave, and more enemy troops to deal with. Uh oh. I fight them off again, but this time they take out two of my guards. I notice my guards don't magically come back. Double uh oh. Now I start thinking, OK, how can I stop them from reaching the king?

Maybe it's a simple matter of walling up the entrance to the keep. Maybe I want to protect my NPC guards too, so I make the wall bigger. But at this point, I don't know how high I need to build, or what shape. Don't I also need to protect myself when using my resources, like chopping some wood from the trees? What if they attack me now that they can't reach my king?

So it's those kinds of questions that we immediately put in front of the player, without a precise answer. This will cause them to think about how they tackle the problem of these waves of enemies and leave them some creative flexibility in their solution. For example, If I build a massive wall, it will take more time and more stone that I've harvested. I may have to fight a wave of enemies while it's under construction. Maybe I build little pocket walls around just the areas I need to defend and passages between them. Should I risk finding out where these enemies are coming from and try to contain them there? What if a huge number spawn right on top of me while I'm attempting this?

Now that I think about it, that left portion of the map alone could be Phase 0.1. The objectives are:
  1. Defend your King
  2. Build the Crossbow
  3. Take out the Enemy spawn points (towers) - the actual Victory Condition for Phase 0.1
The Enemy at this point doesn't need any real intelligent AI, they simply zerg in larger numbers with their priority of 1. Kill the Player's King, 2. Kill the Player, 3. Kill the Player's guards - all based on the pathing available to those targets (what accessible target is closest to the Enemy).


Phase 0.1: Defend the King!

Phase0-1.png



I think by the time the player has constructed the Crossbow and realized it is the BFG (uber weapon) of this game, it will be very satisfying to exact revenge on these NPCs that have been harassing and making the player anxious. :)

---

This is all great conversation by the way, as it helps us all think about what we want this game to be and to play like, both near term and long term. :)
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
it'll just be tricky specifically to get free style defenses working. :)

For this first phase, I'm really only thinking of "defense" as a wall built to block the Enemy's pathing AI. If the Enemy can't find a way to reach their target, they are effectively blocked.

So just as in synopia's maze example, if you place blocks in such a way that the AI can't get around it it's considered "defended".

This may simply mean a block wall 2 blocks high with no entry points (stairs, holes, gaps around corners, etc.).
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
I think one trick about involving a lot of custom defensive building at this point is that it would be incredibly easy for players to find some hacky way to break pathfinding and easily win that way. Players are resourceful, they'll find a way :)

I think that's totally OK for our first run out of the gate. Let them be resourceful and feel smart that they've "beaten" us. As long as it's not too easy and presents some level of challenge. Even if all the enemy AI does is zerg the player, the player will have to deal with a few things.

1. Sparse (if any) instruction on "how" to protect the King.
2. An empty inventory to start with - they'll need to harvest stone and then build with it - this takes time.
3. Multiple points to defend (two buildings and two resource nodes)
4. Multiple points to attack (two spawn point towers)
5. They have to keep themselves alive against increasing numbers of the Enemy with a fixed amount of HP.
6. Player death results in a restart of the game from the beginning.

To vary this up, we could alter the locations of all of the above points every time the map loads. So the towers are never in the exact same place. The woods and the mountains/rocks are in different locations, etc.

Maybe that's easy, and maybe not. If we want, we can vary up the difficulty or let the player choose difficulty levels. This might do something as simple as create faster spawn rates for Enemies, change the amount of resources required to build the walls, or Crossbow, etc.
 

Cervator

Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Contributor
Design
Logistics
SpecOps
Okay, now that you put it that way with only the left side of the map being phase 1 then I like it. Much more "first effort"-y and yes that could be a pretty simple challenge to face the player with. See NPCs of two colors run around, see that kingy looking fellow just stand around, and you lose when one side swarms you or the king. Simply wall king up = safe king, now baddies are going after other things, hmm! Etc :)

Edit: Oh, also, does the Rippik actually walk on a pair of jacks too? That's an awesome toothy grin there :D
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
Edit: Oh, also, does the Rippik actually walk on a pair of jacks too? That's an awesome toothy grin there :D
He prefers to walk, as it's more dignified ... but it's not very practical. Kind of like a girl in 8" heels. Since his body is the ball in the game of Jacks, I figured he could theoretically roll around and cover his entire surface in them if he needed to really amp up his weapon count; or shed them all and roll or bounce - but of course, Rippiks hate doing that because they tend to attract chogs and feel very vulnerable.
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
Just as a talking point, the design of the Player's Keep that spawns on game load (that the player has to defend) can factor into its fortification needs. If the initial structure exposes the king a bit more, it may be a little more interesting when defending him. For example, in the picture below there's no real doors OR walls to prevent attack. This might still mean walling up the King initially, but it might take a bit longer, or make the player wonder if there's a better way to protect everyone (including the guards). Not much of a keep I guess, more like a gazebo ... =)


red-keep ideas.png
 

Cervator

Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Contributor
Design
Logistics
SpecOps
Uh, off with her head? Incidentally the whole head is about the same size as the body, and the top of the "hat" is kinda weirding out :D

Terasology  Pre Alpha_2013-07-09_21-59-35.png

While testing PR from synopia - includes some of the L&S models and they almost work ;)

PR #639 merged! The Light & Shadow game type now puts you in the mega-maze world synopia built (the one in the screenshot - it is 25 stories tall).

Use the black and red spawn and target blocks

Code:
/giveBlock "blackSpawn"
/giveBlock "blackTarget"
Place the spawner, get appropriate oreon minions, place target and they'll path there :)

Couple interesting classes:
It wouldn't take much to put this to use with L&s gameplay. Rather than Oreons simply pathing from a start block to a target make a System that scans for a red king, gets the block below him, sees if it is "walkable", and sets him to the target if so. Else scan for red pawns, same thing, else scan for player, same thing, if total failure run in a circle or something :)

Thanks synopia !

I made #640 as a reminder of the Chunk.getPos thing
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
Quick question: How challenging would it be to get our Enemy to slowly chip away at walls?

I was thinking, if 1. The King is inaccessible 2. If the Player is inaccessible 3. If the friendly NPC guards are inaccessible, it would be really cool if the Enemy would attack the walls so that the player had to repair and/or rebuild them.

We'd want the walls to be fairly sturdy against this type of standard attack, especially if there are multiple Enemy units attacking the same general area - but that'd be way cooler than for them to stand around waiting for the player to blow them away later on. =)
 

Cervator

Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Contributor
Design
Logistics
SpecOps
Quick question: How challenging would it be to get our Enemy to slowly chip away at walls?
We talked on IRC about this but just for the record the answer is: Not too bad. Especially since the miniions can already dig :)
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
Light and Shadow: Pawn Storm - Design Notes
Crafting the Crossbow

For those of you that don't know, Pawn Storm is the first iteration of the L&S game. Limited in scope, but not in style or fun-a-bility!

I'm going to be posting the occasional random thought related to Pawn Storm design. I'll try to preface it with the little title above when I do. Maybe these thoughts will end up organized some day. This is part of a larger: "things we need to get it to work" outline that I'm working on. Kind of a backward process here, I agree, but I decided to spit these things out when they come to me rather than risk their evaporation into thin air.

Please read through these ideas and let me know how feasible they are or how good or bad the idea is. :) Today's random thought is in relation to crafting the Crossbow. The Crossbow is the game changing weapon in Pawn Storm that allows the player to finally go on the offensive, taking out Enemies as well as Enemy structures (and the player's own structures/friendly NPCs). It's essentially our rail gun function.

Crafting it should take a certain degree of time and effort since the reward is well worth it and to provide a level of tension as Enemies continually harass the Player in an attempt to reach the Player's King.

Crafting the Crossbow:

Components Required:
1. Wood planks (derived from wood)
2. Metal (derived from ore)
4. String (derived from Mibble tails)

Entities required for Components
1. Trees (these will be scattered about, but a "woods" should be located in one general area of the map)
2. Ore (when harvesting stone, occasional ore pockets - another block type - will present themselves. These should be moderately rare. One major stone source should exist on the map.)
3. Mibble tails (Mibbles will be scurrying around. Their speed will make it difficult for the Player to catch them without trapping them.)

How to access/use the Entities
1. The Player will start with an axe, allowing him to chop a tree and collect wood
2. The Player will start with a pickaxe, allowing him to chip stone and collect stone and ore
3. The player will start with a shovel and bait, allowing him to dig holes and place bait in the hole. Nearby Mibble will locate the bait, and fall into a hole. Their pathing will not allow them to exit a hole. The Player will use his sword to cut the tail from the Mibble. The Mibble will live (don't worry).

How to refine the Components
1. The wood will be put in a Lathe (container object that already exists near the Workshop) and will spit out Planks
2. The ores will be put in a Smelter (container object that already exists near the Workshop) and will spit out Metal
3. The tails will be put in a Loom (container object that already exists near the Workshop) and will spit out String


Granted, that's a pretty big effort, so if we wanted to streamline this, we could also just say
1. Wood from trees
2. Metal from stone
3. String from Mibbles (without all the trapping them)

And then directly combine them.


Thoughts?
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
Light and Shadow: Pawn Storm - Design Notes
Walls, Stones, Ditches

  • When the Player harvests stone, the stone should be the same color as the Player's faction (red or black).
  • The Enemy AI should ONLY attack stone structures of the OPPOSITE faction color
  • The Friendly NPC AI should ONLY attack stone structures of the OPPOSITE faction color
  • A wall 2 blocks high will be enough to prevent the Enemy from leaping the wall
  • A ditch can also be a preventative measure to block attack - a ditch/hole 2 blocks deep will prevent the Enemy from escaping
 

Skaldarnar

Badges badges badges badges mushroom mushroom!
Contributor
Art
World
SpecOps
When the Player harvests stone, the stone should be the same color as the Player's faction (red or black).
What do you think about harvesting "normal" stone, but turning it into the player's specific colored stones using a matter transformer/the power of your ... (oh jeez, what was this import center piece thingy called again?). So, the player is hardening or refining the stone blocks he collected.

A wall 2 blocks high will be enough to prevent the Enemy from leaping the wall.
Why have you chosen a 2 blocks high wall? The player can jump 2 blocks high, wouldn't it be better to set the minimum height for safe walls to 3 then?

Metal (derived from ore) [...] Ore (when harvesting stone, occasional ore pockets - another block type - will present themselves. These should be moderately rare. One major stone source should exist on the map.)
Do you think of "normal" ores like iron and stuff or do you mean the playing card symbol ores? We could have stone as major stone source, and the card ores scattered over the map. The different ore could have their benefits and disadvantages for the players/different crafting recipes, so you would have to deal with what you've found.

With this ore difficulty maybe trading can come in handy. We can set some of the "white survivors" or whatever to be able to trade resources with the players (not sure if direct trading between opponents is a good idea or even reasonable).
 

SuperSnark

Lore Master
Contributor
Design
Art
hey Chrisk, do you think you could come up with a nice "overworld" L&S themesong for us? And maybe some "under attack" kind of music?
 

Cervator

Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Contributor
Design
Logistics
SpecOps
The concepts all sound great, although I'm not sure on the implementation timeline, might be a bit more basic for a bit :)

Yeah currently the player can jump two-block tall walls. I think the pathfinding from synopia limits the pathfinding (rather than the creature's jump ability) to 2 blocks high. That might also prevent pathing into a 2+ deep hole for traps, unsure.

I think it would be cool to use the L&S mineral blocks for metal. Seeding some of those shouldn't be too hard and I think we can base them on biome and code the world zones into the height map as biomes. That way you could make the metal ores only spawn in the center zone while stone is everywhere.

Trading with the white faction remnant makes sense, it possibly could be done early using the questing system after location / NPC sensitivity is baked in (right now only collection works). An actual trading system would have to be done from scratch (there are some concept ideas in earlier inventory threads including mockups)

Edit: SuperSnark I made you a new milestone on GitHub - Light & Shadow II - Pawn Storm to be the "initial playable". Goes with Light & Shadow I which is the "minimum testable". Can you actually assign issues to milestones on GitHub? Unsure what sort of access that takes.

I would still suggest keeping the Pawn Storm phase pretty minimal. Like working pawns that path and attack what we've talked about before, player just being dropped in to see the king getting attacked, goal is just to wall up stuff and survive (just make enemies move slowly). Win condition could be a quest to simply collect one of each L&S ore block, or each of the aces (top + bottom block)

Crossbow etc would be in later milestones leading up to the full release version :)
 
Top